News: Jon Merrill (arm) still hasn't been medically cleared to resume playing, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: What was expected to be a two-game absence for Jon Merrill has morphed into nearly a month-long one, with no sign of when he might be ready to play. The Devils likely won't be able to provide a good estimate for his timetable until he resumes skating with the team and taking full contact.
News: Marc-Andre Fleury will be in the crease Friday against the Hurricanes. Analysis: Marc-Andre Fleury will have strong odds of celebrating his 30th birthday with a win, as the Hurricanes enter Pittsburgh will losses in six of their last seven games. The Flower has seen his save percentage take a hit over his recent outings, but the collection of offensive stars in front of him will continue to make him a heavy favorite to win most nights.
News: Cam Ward will make the start in goal Friday versus the Penguins. Analysis: It's the fifth straight start for Cam Ward, but that streak figures to come an end Saturday, when the Hurricanes are expected to turn to Anton Khudobin for the second half of their back-to-back. Though Ward has suffered losses in five of his last six outings, he's only sported a save percentage below .900 in two of those turns. That should be good enough to give him a decent level of job security over Khudobin.
News: Chris Kelly (upper body), who practiced again Thursday, has a chance to rejoin the Bruins' lineup Friday against the Jets, the team's official site report. Analysis: Per coach Claude Julien, if the Bruins trainers give the veteran forward the green light, there is "a good chance" that Chris Kelly -- who has two goals and eight points in 21 games to date -- will return to the Boston lineup Friday night.
News: Curtis McKenzie was recalled from AHL Texas on Friday, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Analysis: Colton Sceviour came down with an illness and missed Friday's morning skate, and with Ryan Garbutt suspended for the next two games, the Stars had no extra forwards to turn to. As a result, Curtis McKenzie will join the Stars to provide them with an insurance option in the event Sceviour can't play later in the evening against the Wild. McKenzie would likely skate on the third line if he enters the lineup.
News: Colton Sceviour missed Friday's morning skate with an illness and is uncertain to play against the Wild, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Analysis: Since the Stars had no extra forwards available to play, Curtis McKenzie was recalled from AHL Texas in the event Colton Sceviour can't play Friday. The team will reassess his condition in the afternoon before deciding whether or not to rule him out of the contest.
News: Karl Stollery was reassigned to AHL Lake Erie on Friday. Analysis: Karl Stollery's demotion could signal that Erik Johnson (head) will be ready to go for Saturday's game against the Stars. Johnson's absence forced Stollery to make his season debut Wednesday against the Blackhawks. He finished plus-1 with one shot on goal in his 12:29 of ice time in the defeat.
News: Paul Carey was reassigned to AHL Lake Erie on Friday. Analysis: Paul Carey's services were no longer needed after Alex Tanguay (fractured jaw) returned to the lineup Wednesday without incident. The 26-year-old winger was held off the score sheet in his two games with the Avs.
News: Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes Friday against the Devils, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Analysis: Coach Mike Babcock has elected to rest Jimmy Howard following a stretch of three starts over the previous six days, allowing Petr Mrazek to make his second appearance of the season. The young netminder performed adequately in his season debut Nov. 20 versus the Jets, stopping 28 of 31 shots while coming away with the win.
News: Cory Schneider will be in the crease Friday against the Red Wings, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Analysis: Cory Schneider has taken a loss in three of his previous four starts, dropping his record to .500 (9-9-2) for the season. His ratios have taken a hit this season, but a huge workload has allowed him to rank as the league leader with 557 total saves thus far. He'll take aim at his 10th win against a Red Wings squad that will be starting its backup goalie in Petr Mrazek.